Welcome to SEC Country’s daily Eye on the Tigers, a rundown of everything happening in LSU Tigers recruiting, with Sam Spiegelman. In this edition, we discuss Louisiana’s most prolific athlete, Pooka Williams, who is still undecided about whether he’ll sign his letter of intent with Kansas on Dec. 20. If not, it should open the door for other programs such as LSU.
Will Pooka Williams sign early with Kansas?
NEW ORLEANS — When you average 300-plus yards in the playoffs, apparently word spreads quickly.
Such is the case with elite Louisiana athlete Pooka Williams, a Kansas commitment who has seen his recruitment take off into uncharted territory in recent weeks as his on-field performances reached legendary status. Williams turned in at least 200 yards each week of the postseason (including three 300-yard games), culminating his season with 210 yards in Hahnville (La.) High School’s Class 5A state championship loss on Saturday night in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans.
As Williams put himself into rarified air, even more schools have zeroed in on the 3-star athlete. LSU and Miami have both offered, while Oklahoma, Nebraska, Alabama and Auburn have shown increased interest in the 5-foot-9, 175-pound all-purpose back.
Williams has always planned on signing his letter of intent on Dec. 20, the first day of the newly-implemented early signing period. Those plans are now up in the air and will be discussed at length on Monday when Williams sits down with his parents, Hahnville coaches and mentor to determine the best course of action.
More likely than not, Williams will not sign with Kansas on Dec. 20. When the early signing period expires, it should open the door up for those aforementioned schools to make a push for Louisiana’s most buzzworthy recruit.
“After Monday, I’ll discuss it with my parents and they’ll let me know if if I’ll do it or not,” Williams told SEC Country on Saturday night after rushing for 210 yards, which upped his five-game playoff totals to 1,403 yards and 14 touchdowns.
“If they tell me to sign early, I will. If not, then I’m not,” he said, adding that he’s leaning toward not signing on Dec. 20. “I’m going to discuss it, but I don’t know what they want.”
If it were up to Williams, the plan would be head to Kansas this weekend for his first official visit. He wants to take all five of his allotted officials, which would include stops to LSU, Nebraska and Oklahoma.
The new schools showing interest have caught Williams’ attention, and more offers could be forthcoming if he elects not to sign with the Jayhawks in nine days.
“A lot of schools have come here,” he said. “When you do big things, big schools come in. Nebraska, Auburn, LSU, Alabama, Miami. … I can keep naming schools.”
Williams has remained loyal to his pledge to Kansas, but is open to the new schools paying him attention.
If he had to decide today, Kansas would be the choice. If his recruitment lingers into January or February, then it may be on those coaching staffs to quickly build a rapport with Williams ahead of a Feb. 7 signing date.
“It’s still Kansas because I’m committed to them and I gave them my word. It would be hard for me to flip my word on them,” Williams explained. “It’s about loyalty and it’s like a family, so if I go somewhere, I have to feel comfortable and it’s where I can play. We’ll see who I can build a family [relationship] with me and we’ll take it from there.”
Kansas assistant Tony Hull and LSU area recruiter Mickey Joseph have each gone in-home with Williams the first two weeks of the contact period. Hull is pushing Williams to sign with Kansas on Dec. 20 while Joseph has encouraged him to extend his recruitment into January.
LSU is one of three schools currently making the hardest push for Williams. It should be noted that of those schools, including Oklahoma and Auburn, the Bayou Tigers are the only school to have already extended a scholarship offer back in September.
“Mickey was just telling me that they could really use me all over the field,” he said. “LSU, Oklahoma and Auburn really, they are reaching out to me now. They’re telling me this and talking to me more and it’s increased. Now, they’re building a family [feel]. That’s all I’ve asked for and now everybody has a chance. I’m not cutting anyone out or shutting any doors.”
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